Etienne is one of the few statesmen in Europe who has been actively involved in EU affairs from the beginning, from his early role as Chief of Staff to Paul-Henri Spaak to today. He has held high-level positions in both the public and private sectors, including as Vice-President of the European Commission, President of the Société Générale de Belgique, first President of the International Energy Agency and through various board mandates.
Giles founded Friends of Europe in 1999, and its policy journal Europe’s World in 2005. His career as a journalist spanned 15 years as a Financial Times foreign correspondent, the last five as Brussels Correspondent, and 25 years as a contributor of Op-Ed columns to the International Herald Tribune on European political and economic issues. In 2010 he was named by the Financial Times as one of 30 ‘Eurostars’ who most influence thinking on Europe’s future. His latest book is “Slippery Slope: Europe’s Troubled Future” (Oxford University Press, 2016).
Guy Verhofstadt is a Belgian politician who has served as the Leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Group and Member of the European Parliament since 2009. He was also one of the founders of the Spinelli Group and he was named the European Parliament's representative on matters relating to Brexit. Previously, he served as the Prime Minister of Belgium, Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium and Minister of Budget. Furthermore, Verhofstadt was a Member of the Chamber of Representatives for over twenty years.
An experienced diplomat, Veronika Wand-Danielsson currently serves as the Swedish Ambassador in France. Prior to this assignment, she has held several positions in the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was the Swedish Ambassador to NATO for seven years. During this period, Sweden has developed and strengthened its partnership with NATO, with its contributions to the missions in Afghanistan and Libya.
Silvia is a young economist and entrepreneur specialising in game theory and interest groups. She has extensive experience as a strategist in auction design. In 2008, she co-founded Auctionomics, a high-stakes auction consulting and software firm with clients ranging from governments to Fortune 500 companies. Silvia has acted as project manager on several high-stakes auctions in Australia, Canada, and the United States, in many European countries, and in Africa and Latin America. She is also the co-founder of xSwan, an interactive version of eBay that allows charities to raise more money via online auctions. Silvia frequently speaks at major universities both in the United States (including Berkeley and Harvard) and around the world.
Manuel headed until very recently the directorate in charge of implementing infrastructure projects and stimulating foreign investment and public-private partnerships in Romania. Before joining the government, he worked as an executive director at J.P. Morgan, a multinational banking and financial services holding company, where he was responsible for the relationship with various public sector clients in Europe, including central banks, debt management offices, development banks and government agencies. Manuel also worked as an independent consultant on business and development projects in Australia, South Africa, Tanzania and Peru, as well as at the Brattle Group, where he was a research analyst with a focus on risk management and strategies in the energy sector.
Xavier is an engineer in computer science who is passionate about the digital renaissance. In 1999, while still at secondary school, he founded Tribal, a site that gathered student content from around Belgium for publication in a magazine that was distributed to 30,000 students nationwide. Ten years later, he co-founded Storify, a social media curation platform that enables users to create stories or timelines using content from social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Storify is now used by top brands, organisations and publishers around the world, including CNN, the New York Times, the United Nations and the White House. More recently, he co-founded OpenCollective, a company that enables groups to collect and spend money transparently without having to create a new bank account.
Named a ‘Rising Star’ by the BBC Music Magazine, Alexandra made her debut at the Carnegie Hall in New York. An award-winning Romanian pianist, she has performed in many prestigious orchestras, such as the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Recipient of several awards and honours, she has been listed as one of the ’30 Pianists under 30 Destined for a Spectacular Career’ by the International Piano Magazine. In addition to her musical achievements, Alexandra received the UK’s Women of the Future Award in the Arts and Culture category, making her an ambassador and symbol of success in the classical music industry. In late 2017, the world premiere of her own production, “The Nutcracker and I, by Alexandra Dariescu”, took place in London – a ground-breaking multimedia performance created for a piano solo with dance and digital animation.
Sebastien is the COO of Saildrone, a company designing wind and solar powered ocean drones aiming at revolutionising data collection at sea. He is also a founding partner of Graph Ventures, an early stage angel fund with a portfolio of over 100 start-ups. Sebastien co-founded Playfish, which was one of the largest and fastest growing social gaming companies with over 300 million players, before being acquired by video game giant Electronic Arts (EA) in 2009.
Camille is a European writer, creator and artist. He studied in Paris, at the London School of Economics, as well as in New York. He has published several novels, shorts and essays, such as The Inversion of Hieronymus Bosch (2005), Lives and Death of an American Terrorist (2007), and L’inquiétude d’être au monde (The Anxiety of Being in the World) (2012). In 2004, Camille won the Villa Medicis scholarship for his literary and video work. His short film, “Tango de Olvido”, was selected for the 2002 Cannes Film Festival. In 2008 he founded the European Society of Authors with other intellectual figures to promote a cultural Europe on the basis of what he coined a translation citizenship. He is the Chief Editor of www.ifverso.com and Chief Advisor of the “TLHUB.org” project, a multilingual translation platform.
Leendert is Global Head of the Political and Social Practice of TNS, one of the world’s largest market research companies. From 2002 to 2007 he was Joint Managing Director of TNS Opinion, a co-ordination centre for multi-country studies based in Brussels. Leendert is a member of ESOMAR, a worldwide market, social and opinion research association. Over the last 15 years he has been in charge of the coordination of survey research in countries around the world for an important number of international institutions such as the European Commission, the European Central Bank, the European Parliament and the World Bank. He studied Political Science at Belgium’s Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) and also at Institut d'Etudes politiques / Sciences Po Paris.
Karima Delli from the French party, Europe Écologie–Les Verts, is one of the youngest Members of the European Parliament. She is the ninth of thirteen children, and has written about her modest upbringing and its effect on her ecological commitments in her book, ‘La politique ne me fait pas perdre le nord’ (Politics have not made me lose sight of the North). First elected in 2009, Delli has remained a committed activist during her tenure though work at Jeudi Noire (Black Thursday), a group dedicated to helping young people find housing, and Sauvons les Riches (Save the Rich), which demands the introduction of a maximum European income. She is a member of the Committee on Transport and Tourism, and a substitute member of the Committee for Employment and Social Affairs and of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality.
Balázs is a Hungarian lawyer and a human rights activist. In 1997 he joined the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU), the country’s leading civil liberties watchdog organisation, and after holding various positions he served as the HCLU Executive Director from 2004 to 2012. Since early 2013, he is Director of the European Civil Liberties Project at the Open Society Foundations. He is a founding member of many Hungarian NGOs, and serves on the board of the Common Sense for Drug Policy Foundation and the Melymosoly Foundation. He focuses on civil liberties, human rights, communication and NGO management issues. Balázs received his law degree in 1998 from ELTE University Budapest and is a 2003-2004 Columbia University/Global Network for Public Interest Law (PILnet) Fellow.
Rokhaya is a human rights activist, journalist and Founder and former President of Les Indivisibles, a French organisation that uses humour and irony to fight racism. She is the Host and Co-Editor of “Egaux, mais pas trop” (Equal, but not too much), a series of reports on diversity issues in France. She has held several other noteworthy positions in the television field, basing her work primarily on social and political issues. In 2009, she co-directed the documentary Immigration, the words to tell it. Rokhaya has a Master’s in Marketing and Distribution in TV and Cinema Industry from the Sorbonne, a Master’s in Negotiation and Marketing and a Master’s in International and European Law. She is a published author and prolific conference speaker and is a member of several NGOs and organisations that base their work on social awareness. In 2012, she was awarded the “Award for Involvement against racism and discrimination” by COJEP International.